Europe

Lots of Italy, on Many Collectible Plates

For his 73rd birthday in April, Felice Macchi had lunch at La Bettola Del Gusto, a restaurant in Pompeii, Italy, with a focus on seafood.

He ordered the house specialty: spaghettoni, a thicker spaghetti, in a fermented anchovy sauce with black truffles and butter made with milk from water buffalo native to the Mediterranean region. The meal came on a ceramic plate with a whimsical hand-painted design depicting the spaghettoni dish and a smoking volcano, a nod to nearby Mount Vesuvius.

Mr. Macchi finished his meal — he said it was “excellent” — but did not leave the restaurant empty-handed. Instead of leftovers, he took home the plate his pasta was served on.

It was a new addition to a collection he has amassed of that type of Italian tableware, known as Buon Ricordo plates. He has hundreds of them, many of which he eats on. Others decorate hallways, the kitchen and the dining room of his home in Varese, Italy.

Since 2022, Mr. Macchi has been the president of the Buon Ricordo Plate Collectors Association. The group, which has about 400 members in Europe and South America, is planning an exhibition of the plates at the Fondazione Sant Elia, a museum in Palermo.

When asked why he started collecting the plates, Mr. Macchi, an insurance agent, answered romantically.

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